Over the last month things have gotten into a routine for the courses that are a part of my internship. Each week is another meeting to work on the semester’s project. The research and planning has been done for the last week or so, and the focus has shifted to getting the their project websites programmed. As a class we had fun during the research phase, we looked up many examples of sites for comparison purposes. We also spent some time focusing on older websites to see how styling and design has changed over the years.

Of the the sites we looked through, finding out that SantaClaus.com has been owned since August 30th, 1994 was quite surprising. You can even call Santa Claus. Yes, we called Santa. Another site was for a donkey rescue program. I am a little disappointed that the students chose to remodel Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS), when they could have redone Save Your Ass Rescue as their project. We missed the opportunity to make a lot of great jokes.

We have run into two issues during the last month of the internship. The first issue I have noticed, is that the students are graded the same if they have a full team or not. Unfortunately, this has impacted one of the groups in a section. I have no say in their grade, so there is little I can do, but I can take note of their concern when I teach my own courses in the future. It is a difficult balancing act, because all the work needs to be done for the project to be completed, but since they have less members the quality of the work in some areas might suffer. The students each are taking on more individually, but I think they feel the grades they received did not factor that in.

The second issue is more of a bureaucratic issue. I have taken it upon myself, at the request of a student, to try to make some of the available services more accessible. To do this, the internal firewall at the university has to be adjusted to allow these connections. This request has been scrutinized by the security team, and they have offered up some alternative solutions. Unfortunately these solutions are not really applicable or beneficial with the current need. There has been some push from the department for the security to process the request, but understandably the security would like to make additional changes to make things better from their perspective. I feel this is a very grey area, as both sides have their merits, but I do not know who will win out in this debate.

Lastly, outside of the internship I am presenting two times at HASTAC 2017. The first presentation, a workshop, will be on Friday, November 3rd, from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm, in the trailer (TR541) conference room (107). My workshop materials and part of the presentation are available online. The second presentation will be a project demo, that will take place Saturday at 1:45 pm until 2:15 pm in Classroom Building 1 Room 301.

Preparing for these presentations has taken up a considerable amount of my time. I have done many technical workshops, but I am working on presenting material to an audience of varying technological backgrounds. Ideally everyone will be able to follow along, but if the room is filled to capacity it will be difficult to keep everyone on track. I am trying to counter this issue by having a lot of the material prepared ahead of time and written out, so that each person can move at their own pace and not be lost. I have some concerns some attendees will be unable to find the workshop, as the trailer is not marked on the university map or HASTAC conference map. Either way, I am sure the conference will be a great experience.

 

We have now completed the third and fourth week of my internship. Classes are a little behind schedule due to the delays from Hurricane Irma. This has caused some issues and concerns from the students. A few major assignments have been pushed back to have overlapping due dates. I discovered the students in my Friday lab section, Web Design Workshop (DIG4014), are a smaller subset of the Monday lab section students, Media for eCommerce (DIG4530). Unfortunately, both of these lab sections have large writing assignments due within just a few days of each other. Originally the assignments did not overlap, and there was ample time for the students to work on the assignment and receive feedback. Due to the storms, that work window shrank significantly. This week they ended up having about 20 pages due between the two courses. In addition to the writing, they were required to create and setup a five page website.

On the instructor side of things, I also realize a lot of the students likely had more time to work on the project than originally planned. Most students evacuated and were in safe places with power/internet for the duration of the storm. While it sounds kind of crazy with today’s standards, they could have resorted to handwriting a few drafts of their paper if they lost power. In most areas power was restored within just a few days, so they didn’t lose the entire week of time. If the students were proactive, they could have been ahead and done with the assignment. A few of them implied this was the case during the previous week, that they felt ahead of where they needed to be. That confidence for the most part was lost this week, as many expressed some dismay at the amount of work still ahead of them.

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I am enrolled in an internship course, ENG6947, this semester at the University of Central Florida (UCF). As a part of that internship I am currently tasked with teaching two different lab components for two similar courses. I am helping with Web Design Workshop (DIG4014) and Media for eCommerce (DIG4530). Both courses are part of the Digital Media (DM) program under the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD) at UCF.

In Web Design Workshop the students will be looking at various websites to find one that needs a redesign. Their project will be working on recreating the site using modern technologies. They will not actually replace the current site they choose to work on, but simply create the redesign as part of their portfolio. For eCommerce students will choose a business sector and design a ecommerce website for that business. The goal is to have a fully functioning website created from scratch using modern technologies that the students will use after graduating.

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